This page was last changed on
8th April 2008
by Clive Ormonde


Planning Guidance

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Be aware that the planning process is set by central government and is not necessarily a local democratic process. No matter how many residents object, if the developer correctly follows the planning process guidelines then the local planning authority (LPA); in this case Reading Borough Council; must give permission. If the LPA refuses permission the developer can take their case to the Secretary of State who orders an inquiry. If the LPA is overruled by the Inquiry Inspector then RBC has to pay costs (i.e. local taxpayers’ money goes to line the developer’s pockets).

Commenting on a planning application:
The formal route is to put in writing to the LPA Officer dealing with the case, any objections, quoting the application number. Alternatively, comments can be lodged by email through the RBC Planning web site. The LPA Officer has the authority to make an independent delegated decision on small and medium size planning applications. Consequently, residents’ views may not be adequately considered, and it is essential that the local ward councillor who attends the monthly LPA Committee meetings is also made aware of residents’ concerns and objections. The councillor should be asked to ‘call-in’ the application for discussion before a LPA Committee meeting. This will give both the councillor and local residents an opportunity to present their case orally to the committee. The local councillor who sits on the LPA Committee is Cllr Bob Green and his contact details are:
11 St. Andrew's Road, RG4 7PH, or Tel: (0118) 9477372

The more residents who contact their councillor the more likely he is to call-in the application to the Planning Applications Committee.

If you have really strong objections and a good case it is well worth paying the Planning Officer a visit in person.

Planning Applications Committee:
Held in public each month, normally on Wednesday evenings at 6.30pm in the Civic Centre. If you have made a written objection, you will be notified in writing of the Committee date and you will have the opportunity to speak at the meeting

Reasons which might be considered grounds for refusal:
· excessive traffic or increased dangers from the access road
· inadequate line of sight from the access road onto another road
· size and impact of a new building
· proposed buildings out of keeping with existing buildings
· impact on flood plains
· conflict with Council planning policies
· loss of daylight or privacy
· inadequate off-road parking
· proposed loss of trees with Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs)
· loss of protected wildlife habitat (e.g. bats)
· adverse impact on underlying archaeological sites
· contravention of Reading Borough Council’s commitment to the international Agenda 21 programme of sustainability, conserving of resources and reduction of energy usage.

Reasons not valid for a refusal:
· impact of construction works
· moral grounds
· the sort of people who might live in a building
· to protect a person's view
· to maintain property value.

Other matters that might affect the Council's decision:
· Government planning policy:
· Regional Planning Guidance, Circulars and Planning Policy Guidance.
· Reading Borough Council policy:
· Statutory Development Plan - comprising the Reading Borough Local Plan, Berkshire Structure Plan, and Waste & Minerals Local Plans
· Supplementary Planning Guidance - e.g. Planning briefs for individual sites, and guidance on space and parking standards.
· Special provisions applying to historic "listed" buildings and to Conservation Areas.

Note that all comments are available for inspection by members of the public, including the developer.

After the LPA decision is made:
If permission is granted, conditions may be imposed e.g. hours of building site operation or retention of trees, restrictions on development or it may be bound by a legal agreement that secures wider benefits for education, transport or infrastructure.

If it is refused, the developer can appeal to the Secretary of State against the refusal or against conditions imposed on a permission. The Council's decision can be overturned, or conditions replaced or removed. The developer can resubmit modified applications as often as they want, each time addressing issues raised by objectors or the LPA.

Further Information
Reading Borough Council has a web site with links to various planning guidance:

Emmer Green Residents’ Association will support residents’ objections if there are at least a dozen nearby householders objecting. The Association will not support objections against one-off dwelling proposals, or to proposals to build extensions. The Association will submit objections, regardless of other objectors, if a proposal will have a general adverse impact on Emmer Green. If there is sufficient interest in a particular locality, you may wish to set up your own local action group. For further advice on this guidance generally, please contact a committee member.